External open innovation partner programExploring mechanisms of immune tolerance for the identification of potential treatments for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Autoimmune diseases are characterized by an aberrant activation of the immune system, which results in immune responses directed at self-antigens. We are looking for proposals to identify new targets for the treatment of lupus or for proposals to help establish new phenotypic screening systems for the identification of new targets or pathways that will result in the induction or restoration of immune tolerance.
Specifically, we are interested in exploring mechanisms of systemic or antigen-specific immune tolerance that will eliminate the harmful production of pathogenic autoantibodies and subsequent organ destruction as observed in lupus patients. The targets can be expressed on the cell surface or may act at the intracellular level as signaling molecules. The in vitro phenotypic screens that would lead to the identification of new targets or pathways involved in immune tolerance should ideally use human primary cells, although relevant assays based on cell lines would be acceptable as well.
All proposals will be assessed by our Research & Development organization. Based on the level of interest within our research portfolio, a variety of opportunities ranging from financial support (e.g. success based funding packages), to participation in the drug discovery and the opportunity to influence the clinical application of the applicant’s proposal are possible.
Submit your proposal online (it takes about 20 minutes) in a form and length that is sufficient to provide the substance of the proposal and its innovativeness. The applicant should also provide information about his or her critical knowledge that is applicable for the project and how that knowledge could be supplemented (i.e., what is additionally required to complete the project). Additional information, including references or other materials should be attached to facilitate the evaluation process.
We anticipate proposals from a wide range of academic laboratories and small biotech companies. The research team at EMD Serono will evaluate the proposals and assess their novelty and feasibility as well as their strategic fit into the company’s long-term research focus. Proponents that submit proposals of interest will be contacted within four weeks of submission to clarify additional details concerning the underlying science as well as intellectual property rights, timelines, etc. There are no deadlines for submission and the proposals will be evaluated on a continuous basis.
While Merck KGaA will not share the information beyond its own staff, your initial proposal should contain only non-confidential information.
If your proposal is selected, you will be requested to complete a Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) and to confirm ability to execute a Materials Transfer Agreement (MTA).
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